The breakup 2.0 : disconnecting over new media /

Main Author: Gershon, Ilana.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2010.
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In her surprisingly gripping first book, Gershon argues that Facebook and other forms of new media social networking have radically changed the playing field of accepted interactions. Generations navigate these new forms differently and a whole new set of norms is being developed to judge behavior. No subject has dominated the discussion more than the ways in which we handle romantic relationships: when they begin, when to go public, and how to bring them to an end. Do people really break up via text message? The answer is yes, and Gershon asserts that in this case "the medium [is] at odds with the message." A professor of communications, the author takes a distinctly academic approach, lending legitimacy to what might otherwise be easily dismissed. She understands how new media shapes social communications and addresses its constant evolution. Readers interested in communication theory and new media evolution will appreciate the author's excellent balance of analysis, anecdote, and readability. While some of her insights will undoubtedly be dated the moment this book hits the shelves, her examination will stand as an important time capsule in a constantly-evolving world. (Aug.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Review

Breaking up is hard to do, and, as Gershon (communication & culture, Indiana Univ.) observes, it can be even harder when technology is brought into the mix. Gershon interviewed over 70 people (many of them college students) to examine how they used chatting, email, texting, and social networking websites in conjunction with their relationships and found that opinions and social rules governing the intersection of romance and technology are still highly variable. Why would some people rather break up through email, while others prefer instant messaging? What kind of problems arise when a couple has different ideas about how to digitally negotiate the end of their relationship? How do the social and public aspects of sites like Facebook affect one's actions during a relationship and after its dissolution? Mindful of the complicated nature of the topic, Gershon never attempts to define which behaviors are right or wrong but instead concentrates on exploring the ways people think about these tools and what their beliefs show about society's responses to technology. VERDICT Though written with an academic focus, this is an intriguing read for anyone interested in how social conventions for new media develop and the ways that technology is changing romantic relationships.-Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.